Google Photos

by Volker Weber

Gruber writes:

This commercial is going to turn millions of people with 16 GB iPhones into Google Photos users.

I have already converted lots of users to Google Photos. It's exactly what everybody needs. Unlimited storage, freeing up storage on your iPhone, making all your photos and videos available on all devices, and an Assistant that creates stories out of your photos. Google Photos lets you share with friends, and it is improving rapidly. Check out some of the features: shared albums, smart albums, or search my emoji. What? Search by emoji. Yes, search by effing emoji.

Apple is only catching up to some of those features with iOS 10. But Apple needs to make a big change, if they want to keep a chance to stay in the game: instead of storing everything on the device, they need to store in the cloud and only cache on the device.


Recommendation for migration? Any usable step-by-step guide you or others can recommend?

Martin Cygan, 2016-08-08

Visit and take it from there. It will recommend software to upload your Photos library. Also install on all devices. It avoids duplicates.

Volker Weber, 2016-08-08

As a sidenote, the unlimited free space only is available if you accept that your pictures will be "optimized". That means, large pictures with more than 16 megapixels will be scaled down a bit and even pictures with a lower resolution will be compressed a little bit more than they already are (but no resolution change there), though it's not really visible unless you do a diff comparison. Unfortunately if you select original resolution instead to not have your pictures altered, even your lower-than-16-mp pictures will count towards your Google Drive quota, which is 15GB if you don't pay anything. I chose to pay 2€ per month for 100GB of storage and store the pictures in their original size.

Amazon also has an unlimited storage option for pictures. I haven't looked up yet if they alter the photos in any way as well.

Daniel Haferkorn, 2016-08-08

Google Photos is a service for normal people, who shoot photos with their phones. ;-)

Volker Weber, 2016-08-08

Though I think we had this discussion before, but why not use iCloud Photo Library (except for the charges for extra storage) ? At least for me, it works flawlessly and syncs all photos across all devices. Plus: Shared albums is fun and super easy to use... What about rights and privacy when you send your photos to Google?

Jens Nullmeyer, 2016-08-08

Does not work with Android or Windows. Does not free up space on your iDevice. Does not provide unlimited space.

Volker Weber, 2016-08-08

Google photos is free if your photos are 16MP and below and your videos max. 1080p.
This will work for most end users - I myself have no clue what resolution my iPhone shoots in.
Larger files will be automatically downrezzed to 16MP unless you upload it in full rez on purpose. If you do so, it'll count towards your Google Drive quota.

Amazon was mentiond above. Prime users have free unlimited photo backup, but their sharing isn't great and (to my knowledge) there's no automatic upload from phone service.
I use their paid service to automatically backup all my data via NAS, which works nicely - although pro photographers are restricted to use the service. I reckon it's highly unlikely that my usage will trigger any alerts.

Dirk Moeller, 2016-08-08

iCloud Photo Library does free up space on your device, too. It ships the originals to the cloud and manages storage silently in the background. I always have access to my entire library.
On lack of unlimited space and clients for Windows and Android, i agree.

Jens Nullmeyer, 2016-08-09

Volker, am I not normal? ;)
If it were just the photos from my old smartphone, I would have went with the unlimited route with storage-optimized photos. But my newest smartphone takes 20mp photos, and I want to actually backup my photos from my normal camera as well, and that also takes 20mp photos.

On a side note, I would have been very happy if the smartphone would have had just a 12mp sensor but better noise values.

Daniel Haferkorn, 2016-08-09

Jens, interesting. So Apple is just too greedy. We will see how they react to the Google push.

Dirk, iPhone is 8 or 12 Megapixel. Again, Google Photos is for those who preserve memories, not for those who zoom into pixels.

Volker Weber, 2016-08-09

Daniel, when Google optimizes photos it should also remove noise.

Volker Weber, 2016-08-09

What a life saver! Curious how it will work in reality...

Ingo Seifert, 2016-08-09

The point is: I do not want that google have access to all my pictures and make some good things with them and maybe even some voodoo things.

Karl Heindel, 2016-08-09

Perfectly OK, Karl. You can trust Apple with your photos if you think Google cannot protect them.

Volker Weber, 2016-08-09

Ingo, if it weren't brilliant, I would not mention it.

Volker Weber, 2016-08-09

What I am missing in Google Photos is the option to share Photos only with Logged-In users. I don't want anyone to be able to share photos to anyone else through the Link.

This is what I am missing and also a "better" desktop option (I tend to have photos on the desktop from the DSLR I have and not upload them..)

Johannes Koch, 2016-08-09

I always wonder which Marketing magic was used by Apple to gain so much more trust than Google.
There are plenty of smaller and german cloud providers, if you don't trust the big ones.

Patrick Bohr, 2016-08-09

That is a useless discussion. People believe what they want to believe. There are small companies with one IT guy who believes he can protect an Exchange server better than Microsoft can do in their Azure cloud. And he just leaves some ports open so that everybody can fetch their mail from their Android device with a 2015 patch level.

Volker Weber, 2016-08-09

Good topic Volker. As someone who's never used an Apple device, I was shocked recently to discover that iPhone DIDN'T do this. In fact I was sure I was wrong until I researched it. Having the ability to access (and edit) any photo from any device feels like what the modern internet was made to do.

Also, a small monthly fee (US $1.99/month) gives you 100 GB storage across Google apps, so I even keep photos in full HDR+.

However, most of the "magic" things Google does with my photos for me are useless and get deleted.

Arthur Fontaine, 2016-08-09

Arthur, I can't use the things that Assistant creates either. But I know a few people who love them. Especially those who don't take daily photos.

What I find impressive however is how you can search for things within your photos, without tagging them.

Volker Weber, 2016-08-09

Almost everything of the "auto-awesome" stuff Google created for me is complete rubbish. Based on that I hate it. But: once in a blue Moon an absolute gem slips through. One of which is now the header in my G+ profile. For which I love it.

Armin Grewe, 2016-08-09

Google Photos is a great service and the search is awesome.
However i did not find any way how to import my existing pictures in a way that they remain in an album. I have all my photos sorted in folders and if i upload them to Google Photos they all get mixed up.
Anyone managed to achieve this somehow?
(I searched for a solution but only found lots of other people having the same problem)

Hynek Kobelka, 2016-08-10

I stopped using folders around 2004. Neither for email, nor for photos. Google Photos makes pictures and videos discoverable in so many ways that I don't need folders that order them in only one dimension. I understand it is difficult to abandon so much work you put into it, but that is a sunk investment.

Volker Weber, 2016-08-10

BTW: If you want your photos to sync down to your desktop via Google Drive you've got to go to, open the settings and set "Automatically put your Google Photos into a folder in My Drive."

Oliver Regelmann, 2016-08-10

Now i feel old :-)
But at least for photos i won't change my habit. Right now Microsofts Onedrive does everything i need and their generous quota is sufficient for now.

Hynek Kobelka, 2016-08-10

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